Representatives of 23 Latin American and Caribbean countries ended today a five-day meeting in Brasilia aimed at advancing negotiations toward a regional agreement on rights of access to environmental information, participation and justice, making a commitment to continue conversations in Argentina in July.
During the Sixth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Principle 10), which was held in Brazil’s capital and organized by that country’s government and ECLAC, the delegates and representatives of the public moved negotiations forward on articles 6 and 7 (referring to access to information), 8 (on participation), 9 (access to justice) and 10 (capacity-building and cooperation). They also initiated discussions on the agreement’s institutional arrangements (article 11 onward) based on the fifth version of the text compiled by the presiding officers of the process – the technical secretariat of which is held by ECLAC – which brings together the proposals put forth by countries.
At the end of the gathering, participants thanked the people and government of Brazil for their hospitality and efforts in organizing the event, along with the Argentine government for offering to host the seventh meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 in Buenos Aires, from July 31 to August 4, 2017.
Prior to this seventh meeting, the Negotiating Committee will meet periodically, both in person and virtually, using flexible ways of working in order to conclude the negotiation this year.
The closing ceremony of the sixth meeting of the Negotiating Committee of the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 was headed by Joseluis Samaniego, Director of ECLAC’s Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division; Patricia Madrigal, the Deputy Minister of Environment for Costa Rica, and Julio Cordano, a representative of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Chile, whose countries co-preside the process; José Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho, Undersecretary for Environment, Energy and Science and Technology at Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Rubens Born, in representation of the public.
“We are negotiating a positive agenda, a process that the countries themselves have initiated. This will help us implement the agenda for sustainable development, conflict prevention and the attainment of peace and respect for human rights,” Joseluis Samaniego said during the event’s closing session.
“We can celebrate a week of much work and commitment, where we have discussed and analyzed texts on articles 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I am grateful for the good contributions made by the public and experts, and by all those who followed us via web streaming,” Patricia Madrigal said in turn. “Rights of access are at the heart of environmental democracy and they are reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Buenos Aires I am confident that consensus will be reached on the texts.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador José Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho indicated that the meeting was very meaningful for Brazil. “We are reaching the conclusion of a process that has inspired us. The ideas of Principle 10 have always been present in Brazil and we are pleased with the progress made,” he said. He also thanked the people who accompanied the process virtually.
Finally, Rubens Born stated that “we need to listen to the voices of all people, especially those affected or who are the most vulnerable, those people who expect of the authorities, technicians and society leaders measures that ensure the right to dignity and a balanced environment. But listening is not enough! That is why the adoption of a regional agreement with essential standards for the application of Principle 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean is a way of strengthening the conditions that we have in our countries to tackle environmental challenges.”